Eastbourne Eagles head towards the new year with three names inked on the team sheet for 2013 – Bjarne Pedersen, Adam Shields and Cameron Woodward.
The remaining four names will probably come quite quickly once the wheels start turning again after the long holiday break.
Eagles’ team manager, Trevor Geer, is offering few clues as to who those four riders will be.
However, “past form” tells us all we need to know, in my opinion.
Eastbourne thrive on building a family atmosphere in the pits, they like their riders to “get on” with each other and believe such attitudes are good for morale and team spirit.
More than that, the present Eastbourne management do not lurch around from one season to the next; casting out riders to bring in a new set.
We’ve seen two changes – Pedersen for Joonas Kylmakorpi, who has said he will not be riding in the UK in 2013, and Shields for Lewis Bridger.
Bridger has gone to Lakeside where we may yet see he is doubling up with a Premier League team, something he has said in the past he wished to do.
If I was putting money on who the remaining four riders would be I would go for “no change”.
Barring something out of the ordinary, I expect Simon Gustafsson, Timo Lahti, Lukas Dryml and Denis Gizatullin to be back at Arlington.
Gustafsson’s career is still on an upward curve and if he was going to be ‘on the market’ more than one Elite League club would surely have moved for him by now.
Timo Lahti, the Eagles’ 2012 rider of the year, made huge improvements last season.
It would be unreasonable to expect him to make a similar improvement next time round but Lahti is one for the future.
And Dryml, who although a Peterborough asset, has a love affair with Eastbourne and the supporters, where he has his ‘own’ noisy set of fans.
Finally, last year it took an age and an awful lot of effort to get Denis Gizatullin a work permit.
It was a work permit for at least two years and I cannot see the Eagles throwing all that work away.
Of course, I may be wrong. Riders are never certain until the contract is signed and returned.
It maybe the Eagles have a surprise up their sleeves, but I think the Eagles team for next year is clear, even if it is yet to be set in stone.
Geer is not a man to be rushed and likes everything to be in place before announcements are made, but I don’t see any reason why my prediction should be wrong.
I am also informed that, off track, things are going well.
Details of the Elite League Pass and the 100 Club for 2013 are out with sponsorship news due in January.
A Happy New Year to you all.